'Friend: A Novel from North Korea' from the WEAI Books on Asia series reviewed in The Japan Times

September 10, 2020

Friend: A Novel from North Korea, written by Paek Nam-nyong and translated into English by Immanuel Kim, was reviewed in a September 5 article in the Japan Times. The book, which was published this year by Columbia University Press, is a part of the Weatherhead Books on Asia series.

In his review for the Japan Times, Nicolas Gattig writes, 

"When a writer from North Korea finds an English-language publisher, it is usually dissident literature, telling of tortuous escapes from an oppressive regime and its abuses of human rights. Adding a different perspective to the hermit kingdom is the recently published “Friend,” a state-approved novel by Paek Nam-nyong.

An interesting cultural and historical artifact, “Friend” was written for North Koreans by one of the country’s most celebrated novelists, which means for readers abroad to find value, it should be taken exactly for what it is. No use searching here for hidden subversion: This story passed the censors for a reason."

Read the full review here.